Most Improved Player… and Cards – 2000-01 Jalen Rose Cards

Jalen Rose became a starter with the Indiana Pacers for the 1999-00 season, ended up leading the Pacers in scoring that year, and helping guide the Pacers to their only NBA Finals appearance. Rose’s scoring jumped from 11 points a game to over 18, he shot over 39% from 3 point range, and he ended up winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award that season. The card above is a refractor from 1999-00 Topps Finest.

Being a Pacers fan, I’ve collected Rose’s cards over the years, and since my collecting sweet spot I would say is the late 90s and early 2000s, I’ve enjoyed picking up cards of Rose from some of my favorite brands. 2000-01 Fleer brands are among my favorite sets, and with Rose’s ascension during the 1999-00 season, he ended up being included in a good number of insert sets the following year.

Here are three inserts I have of Rose from 2000-01 Fleer brands, including the Mystique sets I mentioned. I’ve talked about the Player of the Week insert set in a blog post in the past, but the Dial 1 might be my favorite of the bunch. It’s a set full of players who shoot it well from long distance, and the colors really make this set jump out in hand.

I’ve shown this one off before, but Rose has an insert in the Showstoppers set from 2000-01 Fleer Showcase, one of my favorite base sets of all-time.

Arena Vision from 2000-01 Fleer Focus and Smooth Operators from 2000-01 Fleer Genuine are cards that I’m missing and looking to add to my collection.

Rose also made in appearance in the Fleer Game Time Uniformity memorabilia set. It’s one of 4 memorabilia cards for Rose that I have in my collection. The big ones I’m missing are jersey cards from the NBA Finals out of 2000-01 Topps products.

One more from 2000-01, and even though not an insert, serial numbered parallels can be tricky to track down. This one is from another one of my favorite sets from 2000-01, Fleer Futures, and is the copper parallel /750a. Several sets from 2000-01 only had one iteration, and Fleer Futures was one of them.

It wasn’t just Fleer adding Rose to insert sets during the 2000-01 season. Upper Deck and Topps got into the action as well. Rose had 4 inserts just from 2000-01 Upper Deck. I’m missing the Live Action card. Out of these three, the True Talents jumps out at me as far as the design.

While Rose had memorabilia cards in Fleer and Topps products in 2000-01, he had autographs in Topps and Upper Deck products. This is the only Rose autograph I have in my collection, and it’s a beautiful one from 2000-01 Upper Deck Ovation. If only more players had quality signatures like Rose.

These three, from Topps brands in 2000-01, I just picked up over the last few weeks. I’d seen folks showing off cards from the Finest Title Quest set, and when I saw that Rose had a card in this set, I had to pick one up for my collection. Same with the other two. I’d seen these sets in the past, but didn’t realize Rose was included until I started diving into my Rose cards, and from 2000-01 in particular.

While 2000-01 was a sweet spot for Rose inserts, he does have some cards from other years that I figured I would share while I’m going through my Rose collection.

Rose shows up in this League Leaders set from 2001-02 Ultra because of his perfect free-throw percentage in the 2000-01 playoffs, 7 for 7 in the Pacers first round series against Philadelphia. Rose scored 40 points and Reggie Miller hit a game winning 3-pointer at the end of game 1. The Sixers went on to win the next 3 games and ended up going all the way to the NBA Finals. Whatever it took for Rose to end up in this memorabilia set, I’m glad he did! This card is #’d out of 450.

Rose was also included in the 2001-02 Topps Articles of the Arena set. The set includes mem cards with a piece of the Boston Garden court that Rose, and many many others, played on during his career. It’s a cool idea for a set, but all of the players in the set have cards with a piece of the Garden floor. It would have been more interesting to have a piece of the home court for that player’s team, or to include a reference to a specific game even to make the card more specific. Nonetheless, I’m glad to have this card in my collection and to own a couple of pieces of the Garden floor. I have the Reggie Miller from this set as well.

During the following season, 2001-02, Rose was traded to the Bulls along with Travis Best for a group of players featuring Ron Artest and Brad Miller. I don’t have as many cards from Rose post-Pacer days, but I do have this Bowman Chrome x-fractor from 2003-04.

And who can think of Rose without associating him with the Fab 5 and his Michigan teammates. A cool set and a cool card. There’s another version that has mem swatches for Howard and Webber that’s /100, and an unnumbered version with a Webber swatch. My understanding is that there isn’t one that has a swatch for all 3 on the same card.

And I can’t get through a Jalen Rose post without sharing my favorite Rose rookie card, the 1994-95 Finest rookie (with protective coating).

I’m appreciative that the card companies decided to include Jalen Rose in some insert sets after this Most Improved Player award season. It gives me reason to pick up cards from one of my favorite card years for a player from my favorite team.

What are some of your favorite insert sets from 2000-01?

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